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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Millions Like Us: Women's Lives During the Second World War
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on 27 August 2017
A comprehensive story of womenfolk and their lives in WW2. Nicholson takes the reader through seemingly every aspect of women's lives and their contribution to the war at that time: wives and mothers keeping the home going while the husband is away; in the factory or reserved occupation; the Land girls on the farm or in the forest; in the women’s branches of the armed services.

It is fortunate (for the book) that this was a time when many women kept diaries for their own amusement or out of habit, and for Mass Observation, the movement that encouraged people to keep a diary of everyday events and send them in. In addition, Nicholson has conducted countless interviews with women who lived through it; fortunately many of the interviewees were able to look back with some detachment and speak with extraordinary frankness about their own thoughts and feelings, and those of their friends and acquaintances. Like The Great War, WW2 resulted in massive social change; here we watch it changing before our very eyes.

This is a fascinating, even riveting, book and well deserves the plaudits on the front cover: readable, haunting, intensely moving, vividly entertaining, uplifting, humbling… and much more in that vein.
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on 26 July 2017
I loved this book .. for a used book the quality was good but then I can read a dried out mouldy book on the radiator lol .. this book is brilliant from a strong feminist perspective, don't let the foward put you off regarding the back ground on all the women contributing, because the book just flows in and out regardless, I have to say that I've read many ww2 perspectives, but this by far, is an incredible read covering all social classes in depth . An excellent author I will be seeking out any of her other titles 😊
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on 15 May 2017
Very interesting and moving book based on the recollections of various women who lived through WWII. It's good for busy people as you can pick it up and put it down again when you only have half an hour spare without losing interest or the thread of events. Well written and moving insight to the lives of women at a very difficult time in our history.
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on 8 November 2012
Well reserached and written,showing how all social classes of women experienced the war. The book is based on dozens of interviews with women relating their different roles in the services and on the home front. Single, married, engaged, widowed women started living for the moment never knowing if they would survive another day of enemy bombing. This fear of imminent death gave many of them licence to live each day to the full which meant that the pre-war expectations of women and their role in life changed dramatically.Working outside the home, travelling, mixing with a wide range of others, learning new skills and earning wages (even though they were lower than a man's wage paid for the same job)as well as a decrease in sexual inhibitions opened women's eyes to new experiences. No matter how hard government tried to return women to their domestic role again at the end of the war, it would prove to be an almost impossible task. Whether this was a good or a bad thing is up to the reader to decide.
This book is not a feminist diatribe but gives an excellent informative glimpse into that time without any form of critisism.
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on 28 June 2012
I enjoyed this book, with one or two reservations.
If you have studied this subject in any depth (I wrote my MA dissertation many years ago on a similar theme) you will already know much of the material eg diaries by Nella Last, Joan Wyndham, Clara Milburn etc. But the testimonies of the women that the author actually interviewed were interesting and enlightening.
I also felt the author rather over-stresses 'femininity' as an important factor in winning the war. I've always felt that Britain's exploitation of the female workforce was a major advantage (whereas Germany wanted women to stay at home and produce more blond-haired babies) and there is no doubt that as well as tackling unfamiliar work in factories, shipyards, the armed services etc, women had to overcome male prejudices and a patriarchal attitude towards them. Add that to the other difficulties to be endured with rationing, bombing, the blackout etc and you see how much these women were to be admired for putting 'natural feminine feelings' to one side.
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on 7 June 2014
This book should make women appreciate what we have today. We are no longer tied to the kitchen sink and can choose the career we want, this was not possible for the masses at the end of WW2. I have given the book 4 stars as I kept losing track of the people. Nicholson gives an example of one lady, then uses her again about 5 chapters down the line by which time other characters have been introduced and I'd forgotten about the original! This happens with all the characters throughout the book. However, it is a well researched book with an easy writing style.
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on 16 February 2018
A book that MUST be read by all women of all ages. Don't look at women currently in their 90s and write them off as 'doddery', 'fusspots' or anything else. We currently enjoy our very fragile democracy and way of life to these women and what they achieved for women of succeeding generations. They would not have called it feminism but expected but never received equality for what they had done. To paraphrase, we only know what we know because what those who have gone before us have discovered and passed on to us.
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on 24 June 2012
As someone who likes to read both fiction and non-fiction about World War 2. I was very excited when to read "Millions Like Us" by Virginia Nicholson and let me say that I was not let down! This is clearly a well reseached book about the lives of women durning the war. I found myself being drawn in the book. The pictures that were included were an added bonus. This a great book that is a must for any history buff and I hope to read more by Ms Nicholson in the future.
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on 19 July 2013
Fascinating - a look at how the lives and expectations of women were turned upside down by the second world war. A particularly interesting read in conjunction with another book by Nicholson - Singled Out which complements this nicely being about how the "excess" women after WWI carved careers and influenced society
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on 15 May 2014
This book is simply brilliant. Weaving together details of the lives of a variety of women and the public record of war, the author brings
alive what life was like, especially for women during the war, either in Britain or serving abroad. Having grown up in wartime Britain, I recalled and recognised here exactly what life was like then. Nicholson has meticulously researched her material, official accounts and personal diaries, but has presented it all as a living, warm and sympathetic account. You feel you really know these women and I appreciated more what my mother and others had done for me as together we lived though that extraordinary time.
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